Experience has shown that when sales and marketing are aligned in a strong partnership, they deliver more profitable revenue growth. I have seen this theory in action in subscription businesses, advertising businesses, and tech solutions companies, to name a few. And, if you have read all of the blogs to this point, you now have some insights about how to create this powerhouse one-two punch to effectively conquer your marketplace.
That said, your sales and marketing teams are looking for more than just a hearty handshake (well, in a non-pandemic idyll), pat on the back and recognition in the company newsletter as a reward. In good times and in bad, one motivator always tops the list – compensation.
To achieve true sales and marketing alignment, you will need to back up your vision with the appropriate type of compensation system to support it. Sales compensation is always tied to revenue performance. That is not always the case with marketing compensation. While the marketing function likely will have additional goals, sales and revenue performance must be a key component of the mix.
In some companies, the head of sales is often established as the sole owner of the revenue line, and they look to marketing as an internal supplier, rather than a partner. However, based on personal experiences and observed successes, it is clear that in higher-performing organizations the head of sales and the head of marketing operate with shared revenue accountability.
In the shared responsibility configuration, each leader brings a unique perspective to the table, and as a team, they grow the business. Often, the head of sales may not really understand the new and different ways that marketing can help achieve business goals. However, if they understand that their marketing partner is being measured on sales/revenue goals as well as other goals, there is a stronger tendency to collaborate and listen.
A couple of specific suggestions:
In this regard, your head of marketing needs to cascade business goals, including revenue, to each function of the marketing team in a way that makes sense for each marketing team member.